Why so many earthquakes lately? Who's next?

October 21, 1999

Has there been an increase in earthquakes around the world during the past three months, and is this activity a sign of more shakes to come? Why are some earthquakes so damaging, and others barely raise the dust?

Those questions and many more concerning the five large earthquakes that have occurred since August 17 will be answered Tuesday morning, October 26, when four U.S. Geological Survey seismologists "meet the press" during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Two of the scientists, Dr. Thomas Holzer and Dr. Erdal Safak, went to Izmet, Turkey, following the devastating earthquake there, and will describe some of the damage they observed and offer their opinions on why the earthquake occurred where it did and what lessons the United States can learn from that earthquake.

Dr. Bruce Clark of the geotechnical firm of Leighton and Associates will describe the surface effects of the Taiwan earthquake. The success of Taiwan's state-of-the-art real-time digital seismic network and the benefits of having such a network will be discusssed.

Another of the scientists, Tom Rockwell of the University of California at San Diego, will discuss observations of the faulting in Turkey. In addition, Dr. Rockewll spent last week in the Mohave Desert, documenting the 25-mile-long rip across the sand, caused by the Hector Mine earthquake; an earthquake that could have been the deadliest and costliest of the decade, had it occurred in an urbanized area.
As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

This press release and in-depth information about USGS programs may be found on the USGS home page: http://www.usgs.gov . To receive the latest USGS news releases automatically by email, send a request to listproc@listserver.usgs.gov. Specify the listserver(s) of interest from the following names: water-pr: geologic-hazards-pr; biological-pr; mapping-pr; products-pr; lecture-pr. In the body of the message write: subscribe (name of listserver) (your name). Example: subscribe water-pr joe smith.

US Geological Survey

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